Top 10 Things to Know About American History and Culture

Political Correctness (or being “P.C.”)

Since the U.S. is so diverse, there is a general practice of always respecting other cultures and people’s differences, especially when communicating and expressing your ideas. An underlying rule is to not to use words or expressions that could be interpreted as offensive, regardless of whose company you are in. Your co-workers may be of different ages, genders, and races, and political correctness is a way to help everybody feel comfortable with the group dynamic.

Small Talk

A lot of Americans participate in what is called small talk, where you make conversation with strangers or acquaintances about non-controversial topics, such as the weather, sports, or popular television shows. While waiting at a bus stop, in line at a store, or in an elevator, don’t be startled if a stranger says something to you like, “Did you watch the Super Bowl last night? What a game!” They might also make a joke about the long line you’re both in, or comment on the current situation. Small talk is supposed to be harmless, so it’s not okay if a stranger says something that makes you uncomfortable.

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